Future of CX

5 reasons why omnichannel customer engagement is important

Engati Team
.
Oct 6
.
8-9 mins

Table of contents

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Reasons why omnichannel customer engagement is important
“Customer service is an opportunity to eixceed your customer’s expectations.” – John Jantsch

‍Businesses have moved online.
Rise of eCommerce has completely changed the shopping experience.
And with the shopping experience, customer experience also has to change.

Customer experience is an integral part of any business. Online businesses need to be more careful of the customer experience as there is no physical contact and lesser interaction with the customers.

The evolution of retail models

An infographic of the evolution of retail models
How engagement strategies have moved from single-channel models to omnichannel models

Single-channel models

Single-channel is the traditional retail model. According to MageStore, it’s based on a single distribution system. The stores are either completely online, or completely offline. 

It  received a lot of success because it allows retailers to decrease expenses and create meaningful relationships with customers in the area. If one store gained a lot of success, it would become a retail giant in the area. This model also encouraged extensive quality control, but also limited the growth to other markets. This coupled with the fact that customers want a more convenient and customer focused experience, led to the emergence of the multi-channel model.

Multichannel models

As businesses the demand to cover more real estate grows. This could be in the form of multiple franchises or by covering more channels like social media, web and email as a way to engage with more customers. While they are successfully covering more bases, the primary focus isn’t to deliver a seamless experience. Instead, it's more about creating unique journeys across different channels.

As mentioned above the customer had to place a new order on the item they were interested in-store. It provides more flexibility compared to single channel model.


Omnichannel models

Omnichannel is similar to multichannel, in the sense that there are multiple channels being used to interact with customers. However, the experience and the messaging must be consistent across all channels. 

According to Jeff Epstein from Business2Community, in-order to be a key aspect of omnichannel one has to be as follows :-

  • OmnipresentOmnichannel customer engagement requires you to be active everywhere, all the time. The more digital real estate you cover, the better. You have to show your customers that you’re there for them. 
  • OmniscientYou have to be all-knowing. You have to truly get to know your customers and their pain-points to deliver a hyper-personalized, omnichannel experience. The more context you have about the customer, the better. Track every email, interaction, transaction, and conversation, because the more information you have, the more you get to know your customer. 
  • OmnipotentCustomer information should not be exclusive to the C-suite teams. It’s important to empower your front-line teams, i.e., both customer service and sales, through data transparency. Of course, sensitive information must be private, but conversation history, insights, knowledge bases must be accessible for customer support teams to cater to customer needs, and for sales teams to close a purchase.

 A great example of a successful omnichannel model can be the Beauty Insider program from Sephora. Points can be collected and redeemed from brick-and-mortar stores, through the mobile app, and through the website. It also promotes the deals being offered, and the message across each touch-point of the customer journey. Great way of building brand loyalty and attracting customers. Sephora also generates dynamic QR codes for use in-store to enable omnichannel customer engagement from offline channels to online channels like their app or their website.

Currently, customers demand a unified experience- adopting an omnichannel approach is the only way forward.


What is omnichannel strategy?

An omnichannel strategy consists of key interactions over multiple touch points between customer or prospect and a company during the point of sale and throughout the customer lifecycle.
The interactions may start and stop on different channels, increasing the complexity of delivery a customer centric approach when customers decide to switch between communication options. 

Customers expect a seamless experience- regardless of the device or communication channel chosen  They are more likely to choose a brand that has invested in the customer journey over brands that create frustrating service experiences. Integrating omnichannel communications is crucial to create a seamless customer experiences.


Why businesses need to adopt omnichannel approach?

Here are some insights that will shift your view and urge you to adopt omnichannel solutions

1

As yourself, where do customers shop?

According to the BigCommerce report, Gen Z are 2-3 times more likely to make a purchase through social channels, with Instagram taking the lead. When it comes to buying in a physical store, only 32% of customers are likely to purchase in-store. With digital paving the path, this pathway has become more relevant.

2

It builds customer loyalty

Aberdeen Group discovered that companies with a well-defined omnichannel customer engagement platform have a customer retention rate of 91%, compared to a 33% retention for companies with a weaker strategy. A report from IDC retail insights also found that omnichannel shoppers have a higher lifetime value of 30% more than shoppers who only use one channel. 

This suggests that customers love this approach as it allows brands to deliver personalized interactions that customers expect. Brands, through omnichannel platforms, can deliver on rising customer expectations while retaining loyalty.

3

To match current customer expectations

Digital transformation has not only transformed the way we do business, but has also transformed customer expectations. According to McKinsey, customers expect information to be accessible within a few clicks. Many customers use different channels to justify making a purchase through extensive research. 

Witnessing customer complaints in the process with an exceptional increase in volume of complaints has made us adopt an omnichannel strategy in order to better solve this problem.

4

It saves time and resources

Customers tend to get exhausted while switching between channels, and it can be tiring for teams as well, but did you know that it can tire your teams out too?

McKinsey coined this term called “the boomerang effect,” which is when customers keep coming back to a company multiple times for the same query. Omnichannel approach can unify customer interactions which means your agents don’t have to keep jumping between multiple tickets for the same queries, and your customers don't have to return for the same question.


What are the components of an omnichannel customer engagement strategy?

Always be there, or your customers will be square!

A simple way to get started with the omnichannel customer engagement strategy is to offer 24/7 customer service. This can be facilitated by an always-on chatbot. 

Omnichannel empower all channels and all agents with the information they need to handle a customer query- a chatbot falls under this requirement. Train your chatbot by uploading an extensive knowledge base that covers policies and your most frequently asked questions. 

Also, remember to monitor your chatbot regularly. You may discover the emergence of new frequently asked questions. Train chatbots to answer customer queries Or if they’re too complex, use your chatbot to acknowledge your customer’s distress and convey that a live agent will get back to them shortly to resolve the query. Otherwise, a customer will gladly fall into the arms of a competitor if their needs aren’t addressed.

Consistency is key

Customers, without knowing what it means to be omnichannel, expect omnichannel experiences. If I ask a question on a web channel, and send a message on WhatsApp regarding the same question, I expect the agent to know what I’m talking about. I also expect to be talked in the same tone which is where a company style guide comes in handy.

The key is to make your messaging as consistent as possible to truly deliver a unified, frictionless experience. Look for talent that can help unify your messaging for both omnichannel marketing and for customer communication across all boards. But remember that while it is important to unify your messaging, your goal must always be to make sure your content connects with your audience, otherwise, that’s another purchase out of the window.


The power of one-view

Currently, a lot of companies opt for multiple platforms to carry out different tasks. Transparency and connectivity are the key issues they face . For omnichannel to work effectively, it has to be seamless. Multiple platforms cause friction, that’s why it’s so important to use a one-view platform that’s flexible enough to support integrations with other platforms

Hence brands need to fit the mismatched pieces of customer data into a central location. Central location could be a digital customer experience platform, or something similar. Using a platform like Engati allows you to stitch customer conversations from multiple channels into one place, providing agents with context to previous conversations. It also makes retrieving data, adding data entries, and carrying out transactions more fluid. 

That’s the power of a one view. Unify customer insights and put them in one place for all agents to access, allowing them to personalize each customer interaction. And it also ensures that no matter where a customer begins their journey, all the data is assembled in 1 place.


The role of hyper-personalization 

Rising customer expectations and omnichannel experiences go hand-in-hand with customer centric approach. Customers expect a personalized experience at every touchpoint, regardless of channel. With a one-view inbox, this is achievable. Because all data and messaging is kept in one place, you avoid cross-data mishaps, making the task of creating hyper-personalized experiences much more seamless.

Company culture

Breaking out of the silos way of doing business requires a lot more than an adoption of a strategy. It demands a cultural shift. It's been historically proven that businesses have been separated by departments. . One corner of the office for marketing, the other for research and development, another for sales, the floor for customer service and so on.

Usually KPIs that employees scored on had more to do with individual performance, rather than what was needed for the customer. However, the omnichannel customer engagement strategy demands these barriers to be broken down. There needs to be more cooperation in the workplace because cooperation allows for transparency, which paints a more accurate picture of the customer and their pain-points.

Here's a good article on how to select a customer engagement platform.

Adopt the omnichannel customer engagement strategy in 3 easy steps

Image on how to adopt the omnichannel approach in three easy steps
Adopting the omnichannel approach has never been easier!

Step 1: Get to know your customers

Before you adopt the strategy, you have to evaluate whether it’s necessary for your business at this point of time. Research your current demographic. Understand their pain-points and their buying behaviours.

While a major part of customer experience is exceeding expectations, you have to know what your customers’ current needs are. Otherwise, it’s just a shot in the dark.

Is this what they want?

While the idea of an omnichannel customer engagement strategy excites some customers, others are slightly more wary. Certain customers find ads that are catered to their needs fascinating, while others are left wondering “hey, how did they find that out?” 

While adopting this approach, you have to strike a balance between personalization and invasion. Sacrificing your customer’s trust is a heavy fee that no brand can afford to pay. 

Before adopting this strategy, remember to:

  • Conduct surveys asking what customers hope to achieve from experiences carried out across multiple channels
  • Educate customers on the benefits of personalization
  • Give customers the freedom to control what data can be collected and shared amongst your teams
  • Provide a privacy statement with an option to opt-out

Step 2: Pick the channels you want to target

While acquiring more digital real estate is the ultimate goal, it’s far more important to target the channels that your current customers populate. The usual pattern we see is website, mobile application, and a social media channel. Discover where your customers are and build a presence there. Only then can you think about acquiring more estate.

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Step 3: Adopt the right tools

We’ve already talked about the importance of a digital customer experience platform. A one-view platform avoids all hassles and confusions, bridges the gap between your customers and customer service team, and is the glue that keeps your omnichannel strategy strong.


The time to become an omnichannel player is now

Register with Engati to begin your journey towards a unifying customer experience. 

Engati Team

At the forefront for digital customer experience, Engati helps you reimagine the customer journey through engagement-first solutions, spanning automation and live chat.

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